If you have heard that you need a PhD in philosophy of religion to be an apologist, you have been misled. It is a great degree to have but you can be involved in apologetics with a wide variety of training.
First, I believe that a lot of apologetics training takes place informally through reading books and blogs, listening to podcasts and attending conferences. These things should be done, even if you choose the formal route.
As for what level of training you should go for, it all depends on what your intentions are. Do you want to teach apologetics at a university level? Do you want to lead workshops at churches and other venues? Do you want to just equip yourself to be a better apologist? All three?
There are a number of different options available depending on what you want to do.
- You can get a certificate in apologetics. Look into who is giving the certificate. Are they actually making you work for it? You don’t just want a piece of paper for a small fee.
- You can get a degree from a unaccredited (or limited accredited) school. These are often available through distance education. This will give more training than a certificate and is great for lay teaching but will limit university teaching. As with the previous option, look into the school first and make sure they are not a degree mill.
- You can get a bachelor or masters from an accredited Bible college or seminary. This will give you a very good background to be effective in apologetics.
- You can get a doctorate (find out the difference between a DMin and a PhD here) in a related field. There are few doctorates in apologetics, but something like philosophy, biblical studies or theology would be appropriate.
As you can see, there are many options. I actually do not have a degree in apologetics. I have a MDiv for pastoral ministry and a MTh and MA in biblical studies. In addition, I am two thirds done the certificate in apologetics from Biola.
If you are interested in exploring your options for apologetics studies, visit my Apologetics Resources page that provides links to a number of apologetics programs.